The protest call by farmer organisations against the Punjab government’s Covid curbs on Saturday failed to evoke any response from traders. Members of the Bathinda market associations said they were not averse to the idea of imposition of stricter rules to break the chain of coronavirus infection.
Bathinda is under curfew from 3pm on Friday till 5am on Monday to contain the spike in Covid cases.
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Farmer organisations asked traders across Punjab to keep their shops open in defiance of the administration’s orders.
Bhartiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) leader Balbir Singh Rajewal had announced earlier this week that the state government’s decision to impose a lockdown was hurting the financial interest of traders, shopkeepers and workers engaged by them.
On Saturday, farmer union activists gathered at various places in the city and adjoining areas, including Goniana.
The farmers held protests, but markets remained shut.
Unwise to oppose curbs: Beopar Mandal
Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal president Amit Kapoor denied any talks with farm union leaders to oppose lockdown. “Coronavirus is spreading at an alarming rate, and it is unwise to oppose the restrictions. Hospitals are flooded with patients and lives are being lost every day across Punjab. It should be the collective duty of all sections of society to contribute to containing the spread of the virus,” Kapoor said.
Rajinder Goyal, the chairperson of the Dhobhi Bazaar Market Association, said the weekend curfew was in public interest. “The district administration has allowed opening shops for half the day. We will support it even if the government plans a complete lockdown. Public health should be the priority,” he said.
Allow home delivery: Grocers
A-Z Traders Kikkar Bazaar Association president Jeevan Kumar said grocers have suggested a complete lockdown but permission for home delivery. “Since social distancing is not possible in most conventional shops, we welcome the lockdown like last year where shopkeepers were allowed to deliver goods at customers’ doorsteps,” he said.